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Manishevitz



Adam Busch, who goes by the name Manishevitz when working solo, is everything a good singer-songwriter should be: wise, direct, poetic, musically diverse, and emotionally direct. Actually that last epithet is a bit of an understatement; many of Manishevitz's songs read like poems penned in a secret diary. Their words are strange and wonderful, a procession of surreal, non-sequiturial images that somehow cohere on a deeply intuitive level. Busch delivers these in a warm, laconic, slightly tuneless voice, making you feel, somehow, that he might be singing just for you. The music can be stark and bleakly introspective, or bouncily peculiar, or just calm and straightforward. Busch borrows from different genres to fit the mood of each song, here a touch of gothic folk, there a bit of baroque pop, over there even a little sensual R&B. The constants are his lazy off-kilter voice and busily strummed acoustic guitar, making him reminiscent, more than anyone else, of Randy Newman and Leonard Cohen.

Busch was once a member of the now-defunct Virginia avant-pop group The Curious Digit. After that band's breakup, Busch began recording as Manishevitz. His debut, Grammar Bell and the All Fall Down (1999) was a stark, searching, world-weary affair. That record includes "Fox Trot" and "Praise for the Economie." Manishevitz's second LP, Rollover, released after a move from Charlottesville to Chicago, is a considerably warmer, goofier, more energetic effort. On that album, Busch got assistance from a number of Chicago underground rock and jazz notables, including Via Nuon (Drunk, Bevel), Ryan Hembrey (Pinetop Seven), Jason Adasiewicz (Central Falls), and Jeb Bishop (The Vandermark 5, The Flying Luttenbachers). Rollover includes "Go Blind" and "Oh Lilly."